MEMOIR–At the Edge of the World: Memories of a Judge Who Indicted Pinochet


An excerpt from the memoirs of Juan Guzmán Tapia, the courageous Chilean judge who indicted Augusto Pinochet.

The “godfather” bestowed on me at birth was a dictator — and one of the worst Latin America had ever seen. At the time, my father, Juan Guzmán Cruchaga, was the chargé d’affaires of the Chilean embassy in El Salvador, the Central American nation governed with an iron fist by General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez. The general’s wife, who fancied poetry, was fond of my father’s company, as my father was a wonderful poet, well-known throughout Latin America and Spain. My father also cared greatly about maintaining good diplomatic relations and encouraged the First Lady’s interest in poetry. He was therefore quite close to the presidential couple. Weeks before my birth, the General asked my father to name me Salvador, in honor of the country he ruled.

Juan Guzmán Tapia
Publication date: 
August 21, 2019
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article